In the fall of 2019, I went to Goa in India for a Yoga Teacher Training Course (YTTC). My adventure with yoga began several years ago. I went to the course to learn the basics of teaching and to be able to pass this knowledge on to 🙂
Choosing a school
I chose a school in India to learn this knowledge at the source. My school was Shiva Shakti Yoga. To choose a specific facility helped me its commands and specific location – on the shores of the Arabian Sea in Goa. Thanks to this, I was awakened by the sound of the sea every day, during the lunch break and after classes I could relax on the beach.
For me, it was the first trip to India and before leaving I did not want to immediately go into deep water, and Goa is considered a very touristy place, especially among Western tourists, but also the Indians themselves. It is said that they come there to see Europeans bathing in the sea in swimsuits 😉
Arrival in India
I flew to Goa straight from China. First, by plane to New Delhi, from where I had a flight to Goa to Vasco Da Gama airport. Before the start of the course, I had a few days to acclimatize on Indian beaches in a town near the airport. From there, together with a friend from Polish, we took a taxi from school to Patnem beach,where the course took place.
Patnem is a small quiet beach where there are only restaurants and yoga schools. In addition, in the town there was one shop with all the most necessary articles, a greengrocer and a souvenir shop. I went to Indi in October, which is usually the start of the season. However, that summer the rainy season was prolonged and only a few places were open. And the next ones gradually opened during the course. This allowed you to calmly enjoy the beach and nature 🙂
Teacher Training Course
I chose a 200-hour month yoga teacher training course based on two main streams: Hatha yoga and Ashtanga yoga. In addition, there were classes in meditation, pranayama (the art of breathing exercises), mantras, yoga philosophy, anatomy and ayurveda (health knowledge).
The course was attended by 7 people from all over the world. The teachers had a great deal of knowledge in their fields. It is a great happiness to be able to learn the secrets of yoga at the source. For learning, we received materials in the form of a book and conversations with teachers.
Hatha yoga is characterized by the most classic approach. The emphasis here is on performing the position correctly, it gives us the greatest freedom as to the arrangement of asana sequesters and the time spent in each position.
Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga is a fixed set of asanas that we always perform after ourselves in a fixed order, allocating 5 breaths for each position, It is very dynamic and emphasizes the physical aspect. After mastering the sequence, we can freely follow the exercise regimen, putting the mind in a state of relaxation and meditation.
When choosing a course, it is good to be guided by our heart. Let’s determine the knowledge of which style of yoga we want to expand the most. It is also good to read reviews, or find someone who has already been to a given place and can tell us about its pros and cons.
A typical day on a course in Goa
The day began with a wake-up call around 6 a.m. At 6:30 we cleaned our bays with Jala Neti – flushing with water and salt. So purified we began with an hour-long pranayama lesson. Then we ate a light breakfast – mostly porridge with fruit, warm water with ginger and turmeric.
We started a 1.5-hour hatha yoga lesson. During the classes, we learned the basic positions of yoga – asanas together with teaching methods, principles of conducting classes and approach to students. In addition, we worked on our own position improvement.
After class, we went to dinner around 11 o’clock. And here the great advantage was Indian cuisine. My favorite kitchen of all time. Each dish was prepared with such care and taste. Fingers lick! Literally, because in India we can eat with our hands 😉
After lunch we had a siest, time to rest, sunbathe and swim in the sea or walk around the quiet town and drink chai tea at a local bar. From the beach you can also take a tuk tuk to the slightly larger town of Chaudi, where there is a market, pharmacy, post office and ATM.
After resting, another portion of classes, this time theoretical classes: mantras, science of yoga for health and anatomy, philosophy of yoga. At the end of this block of meditation classes, to be able to assimilate all this knowledge and not overload the mind.
After half an hour break, intended for drinking water straight from coconut or favorite lassi (a drink made of tincified yogurt and fruit – I recommend mango and pineapple!) 1.5 hours of the most stout yoga – Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga – were waiting for us.
After a whole day, a delicious dinner on the beach, late conversations or studying for the final exam 😉 There is also a great massage salon at the school, which was a salvation for our overloaded muscles. The sun sets here every day around 6 p.m., then we also have the opportunity to see beautiful sunsets. Every day the sky is colored with various colors.
Exam and course closing ceremony
At the end of the course, we had an exam: the practical and theoretical part. The practical part consisted of conducting classes in each style of yoga. The theoretical part is the tests from each module of the course. However, with such an intensive schedule of classes, knowledge was absorbed by itself, and learning for exams was a pure pleasure 🙂
The graduation ceremony is usually held in white costumes. However, we (participants of the course) fell in love with the traditional sari costumethere. Therefore, we could not miss the opportunity and decided to celebrate the end of the course dressed in a sari. We went to the market in Chaudi for the material, and the outfit was sewn by a local tailor. So prepared we could celebrate becoming yoga teachers.
Sightseeing in Goa
The first place visited was Cola Beach. It’s a charming, somewhat hidden beach north of Patnem. It is surrounded by high cliffs. There is also an estuary where we can bathe even if the sea is restless (depends on the season).
We got to Cola Beach in a rented tuk tuk, with whose driver we set the time of return.
Agonda is the largest and most recognizable beach in southern Goa. However, she did not make a big impression on me, I don’t even have any photo of her 😉
Palolem is a beach located a few kilometers from Patnem. She has the fame of the more party one. It is there that we will find restaurants (mainly hippie, vegetarian and vegan) and a small market where we can buy souvenirs or clothes.
Cooking course in Palolem
Cooking class in India is one of the best attractions in which I had the chance to participate during my travels. During the course we prepared local dishes such as Palak Paneer, Dal Tadka, Chapati or traditional Goa curry. After getting a list of recipes, I went to the market in New Delhi and brought 3 kilograms of spices with me. Since then, at least once a week, I cook one of the Indian dishes. Fortunately, some of the spices have still been 😀
Why is it worth coming to Goa?
If I had to choose one reason why it is worth coming to India, I would choose two: colors and cuisine. Goa is a slightly lighter version of India, where we will not face a great cultural shock, and yet we have the opportunity to experience the uniqueness of India. It is here that the streets smell of fresh, spicy spices. It is here that there are beautiful beaches. It is in Goa that the most wonderful sunsets are. And when we add to this the whole days devoted to yoga, we have the perfect combination.